Root equals Test 50s record as England take control in Durban

Joe Root passed 50 for the 13th time in 26 innings this year. Photo: PA Wire
Joe Root passed 50 for the 13th time in 26 innings this year. Photo: PA Wire
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Sheffield’s Joe Root equalled a Test record as he passed 50 for the 13th time in 26 innings this year as England went on the ascendancy in the first Test in South Africa.

After a disastrous third day in Durban for the hosts England finished 261 in front on 172 for three with Root on 60no, a handsome lead on a wearing and slow-scoring pitch.

Moeen Ali says his performance with the ball on day three was a step in the right direction.

Moeen added the wickets of JP Duminy, Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn to his dismissal of Faf du Plessis on the second evening to finish with four for 69 as England bowled the hosts out for 214.

It signalled a return to form for the 28-year-old, who managed only nine wickets in three Tests against Pakistan in spin-friendly conditions in the United Arab Emirates.

“I’ve worked a lot harder since I’ve been here on my bowling and it’s paying off slowly,” Moeen told Sky Sports 2.

“There’s a long way to go. I’m not going to stand here and say I’m a world-class bowler or anything like that. Today was a good step in the right direction.”

South Africa were left frustrated after the umpires decided to change a ball that had started to reverse swing.

The Proteas thought their luck had come in when Alex Hales smashed Dane Piedt for six against an advertising board, causing damage to the surface of the ball.

Umpire Rod Tucker was initially happy to continue with the original but he and colleague Aleem Dar made the decision to call for a replacement when Hales departed 10 overs later.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla was seen in lengthy conversation with the officials at the time, with team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee later seeking clarification from match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Dr Moosajee said: “The reason I have been given is that when it hit the advertising board, or the LED screen, a chunk of the ball came out.

“Because there was unnatural wear and tear they have the right to change the ball.”

* Scores - England 303 (Compton 85, Taylor 70) & 172/3 Root 60no); South Africa 214 (Elgar 118).